Years ago, people began asking for transcripts of my Ongoing History of New Music radio show. I didn’t have time to do it so I brought in a couple of interns, Shawn and Nathalia, to do it for me. They worked really, really hard to make this happen. But in the end, it proved to be too much. Shawn and Nathalia moved on to other things and the transcript project came to an end. There was also a later effort to transcribe radio shows into French, but that never really caught on, either.
Then came the Ongoing History podcasts. While different from transcripts, they did offer on-demand and repeated listening opportunities. If you wanted to revisit a show or even just a portion of it, podcasts made it possible. Still, the idea of offering transcripts lingered.
Today, we have all sorts of automatic transcription technology. The biggest news in this space today is what’s coming in iOS 17.4. Once this release is out, Apple Podcasts will support transcripts. They will be automatically generated for episode once they’re published. Those transcripts will be viewable in the Apple Podcasts app.
Here’s what the company says (via 9to5 Mac):
“Apple automatically generates transcripts after a new episode is published. Your episode will be available for listening right away, and the transcript will be available shortly afterwards. There will be a short delay while we process your transcript. If portions of your episode change with dynamically inserted audio, Apple Podcasts will not display the segments of the audio that have changed since the original transcription. Music lyrics are also not displayed in the transcripts.”
If you go to the “Now Playing” screen in the app, just tap the new “quote” icon in the bottom toolbar. That will bring up the transcript which you can watch the words appear as they’re spoken. You can also tap anywhere in the transcript to start listening at specific points.
Don’t want to listen? No problem. Tap and hold on an episode and choose “View Transcript.” The tech also gives you the ability to search for specific terms within each transcript.
More than 170 countries and regions will be able to access transcripts through Apple Podcasts. Supported languages include English, French, German, and Spanish. Back catalogues will be eventually added.
If you’re a podcaster, you can read more here.